We discuss Christine and Kate Plays Christine, a fiction and documentary film about Christine Chubbuck. We ask, what’s the value of telling a story in fiction versus nonfiction?
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This episode features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, and special guest Lena Wilson.
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Christine (Antonio Campos, 2016)
Christine follows Christine Chubbuck, played by Rebecca Hall, in the weeks leading up to her death. At the news station where she works, her boss Mike, played by Tracy Letts, is pressuring the reporters to favour blood and guts television over less sensationalised news stories, which Christine prefers. As the pressure mounts at work, in Christine’s romantic life, and with her relationship with her mother, she eventually comes to the decision to kill herself on air.
Christine is streaming on Netflix in Canada, Hulu in the US, and is available on VOD in Canada, the US, and the UK
Kate Plays Christine (Robert Greene, 2016)
For his documentary Kate Plays Christine, Robert Greene has created a fictional construction — that he’s shooting a fiction film about Christine Chubbuck — in which to make a documentary film about an actor’s process. He follows Kate Lyn Sheil, who will be playing Christine, as she attempts to understand the woman she’s playing and get into character. Through costume and wig fittings, and interviews with experts and people who knew Chubbuck, Sheil gets increasingly frustrated by her inability to totally understand the woman and why she did what she did. She also gets frustrated by the movie she’s preparing to star in, wondering why it exists in the first place?
Kate Plays Christine is streaming on Kanopy in Canada, Hoopla and Fandor in Canada and the US, and is available on VOD in Canada, the US, and the UK
On this episode
- Subjective realities: The art of creative nonfiction film (2:34)
- Why we paired these films and the Christine Chubbuck story (5:18)
- The mid-2010s trend of men making movies about how bad men oppress women (10:04)
- Christine (15:16)
- Rebecca Hall’s performance (21:50)
- The strange questions the film asks (30:50)
- The Florida perspective (35:03)
- The 1970s (38:35)
- Kate Plays Christine (41:36)
- The film’s ending (59:52)
- Blame on authorship and viewership (1:07:51)
- Conclusion (1:19:19)
- Purchase Subjective realities: The art of creative nonfiction film for more on Robert Greene, the casting conceit in creative nonfiction, and much more.
- Purchase tickets for August 29th’s livestream conversation between Robert Greene (Kate Plays Christine, Bisbee ‘17) and Joe Bini (editor of twenty-seven Werner Herzog films).
- Read Alex’s interview with Penny Lane about Nuts!
- Read Miriam Bale’s essay in The New Republic on Christine and Kate Plays Christine
- Ep. 68: Mothers struggling with addiction in Hillbilly Elegy and Down to the Bone (Members Only)
- Ep. 67: Frederick Wiseman’s Ex Libris and City Hall (Members Only)
- Ep. 12: Hail Satan? featuring director Penny Lane (Members Only)